Webber defies turmoil to top charts - Motor Racing - Sport - The Independent

Webber defies turmoil to top charts

Damage limitation. On and off the track, that's been the catchphrase of a cold weekend that might just prove to be the tipping point in Formula One's history. In the end, the renegade FOTA teams elected not to prod the tiger more than necessary and dropped their thoughts of presenting beleaguered FIA president Max Mosley with a convenient ready-to-sign letter of resignation.

They learned after the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on 24 June, where Mosley agreed to stand down as chief in October, that too much triumphalism is enough to goad him into a change of heart, never mind challenging him so directly.

But patience is fast running out, and the pressure has never been greater on Mosley to clear off.

His long-time cohort Bernie Ecclestone was also in trouble, still haunted by his intemperate remarks last week about Adolf Hitler and the manner in which many chose to interpret them. Leading Jewish businessmen condemned them. Most prominent among them was Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP who also happens to be a board member and shareholder of Delta-Topco (part-owned by CVC Capital Partners and Ecclestone as F1's commercial rights holders), who told him not to go to Germany. Ecclestone did, of course, since one does not instruct him to do anything.

But the fact that he allowed himself to be photographed shaking hands with former rally champion Ari Vatanen, who has confirmed that he will fight Mosley for the presidency in October, was a telling indication of the direction of the wind of change that rendered the paddock such a bleak place this weekend. CVC is reportedly working "24/7" to get rid of Mosley and it is said to be Sorrell, together with Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestle and a fellow Delta-Topco board member and shareholder, who is working hardest to oust him.

With FOTA putting increasing pressure on CVC to make a decision whether to join their still-possible breakaway series or else to help find a lasting solution to the problems Mosley has recently generated by threatening not to withdraw after all, tensions have been running high.

Improbable as it might seem even the ghost of Peter Mandelson flitted through, ostensibly because Ecclestone is under pressure from Sorrell to temper his comments and use a PR company with which Mandelson has connections.

On the track the cold conditions, allied to a rain shower just before the second qualifying session, threw things into great confusion. Red Bull started as favourites, with Brawn potentially on their back foot fighting the same tyre warm-up problems that had beset them at Silverstone.

Nobody, but nobody, could find grip on Bridgestone's prime tyre, with its medium compound. And while the Red Bulls were expected to go well on the super-soft option, points leader Jenson Button hoped for better things here as his Brawn prefers that tyre to the soft compound used at Silverstone.

The weather, however, nearly changed everything as cars went spinning on the greasy track the moment Q2 began. At the end of it Rubens Barrichello was fastest for Brawn, with Button jumping to fifth from 15th in the dying seconds. Mark Webber, fast all weekend, was fourth for Red Bull, his British GP-winning team-mate Sebastian Vettel only seventh.

It was dry for the final session, but the upset in Q2 had thrown people off balance. With minutes left an all-British front row loomed as Lewis Hamilton in a resurgent McLaren went quickest, before Button displaced him. But then Webber's lap of 1min 32.230sec pushed him ahead and withstood Vettel's 1:32.480 challenge. That momentarily placed the German second before Button's 1:32.423 earned him the position, but almost immediately Barrichello grabbed it with 1:32.357.

Hamilton's 1:32.616 was good enough for fifth, as his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen enjoyed McLaren's renaissance with sixth on 1:33.859. "It's very special for me, having been close to pole a few times," Webber said. "Qualifying was very chaotic but we were able to deliver when it counted. Qualifying is always tense and it always comes down to that last lap. It's about containing your emotions and relying on your experience. It's incredibly easy to look stupid in these conditions. We were tested to the limit, knowing how greasy the track was and choosing the right tyres."

Barrichello, facing his 280th grand prix, was very happy with second, and revealed: "I felt like I wasn't breathing for all of that last session."

And Button was satisfied with his damage limitation work for third. "Q2 was madness," he laughed. "We are struggling with tyre warm-up here anyway, so chuck some water in there too and it was quite difficult. Twelve degrees in mid-July... Who says English weather is bad? Q2 was a session I really did not want, so getting through to Q3 was good and whoever is in the top three should be happy. Congratulations to Mark on his first pole.

"This weekend has been all about getting heat into the tyres and we made the best of it today. But it's going to be a tough race for us."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week